Whither “Stilgherrian Live”?

Title graphic for Stilgherrian Live Alpha episode 8

With Thursday’s night’s episode the Alpha series of Stilgherrian Live came to an end. What next?

Across eight “proper” episodes, plus a couple of impromptu programs from a local pub and a hotel room in Canberra, I achieved my main aim. I proved that it’s possible to do a live video program on the Internet using equipment I can carry in a backpack.

I got a feel for how much pre-production is needed. I got inbound talkback calls working via Skype. And I was very pleased to sustain a regular live audience of 30-odd people. Thank you.

Recently, thanks to Qik, I was able to broadcast live video feeds from my Nokia N80 phone. They’re still viewable at qik.com/stilgherrian. However the “standard” 3G available in Australia meant the technical quality was pretty average. It really does need HSDPA, i.e. a new phone.

So, given that “we have the technology”, what sort of programs should I create?

The 8-plus-2 episodes of Stilgherrian Live Alpha, all linked off the program page, were a mixed bag. They were meant to be based on a half-hour chat show format, but some weeks I simply didn’t have time to prepare and they were little more than me ranting at the camera. Should I continue aiming at that sort of format, or something different?

Here are the random thoughts I’ve been having, numbered so you can refer to them in the comments:

  1. Am I worrying too much about making things look like traditional network TV graphics? Where should I be on that scale of “polished” to “rough”?
  2. Can there be different kinds of Stilgherrian Live, including more serious interviews, quick random broadcasts using Qik, the more “produced-up” weekly chat show etc?
  3. What sort of topics should I cover?
  4. How does this fit with my writing here on the web (both the essays, the link compilations and the random bits), what I do on Twitter and what I do for Crikey?
  5. And, given that I only have a finite amount of time, how much of each do I do?

I’ll leave it there for now, because the Snarky Platypus and I will be meeting at the gym shortly. I do have more thoughts, but I’d like to hear from you, my adoring public, first. And then I’ll respond. Comments please!

[Update 22 March 2014: Technologies come, and technologies go. Qik is no more. Its video messaging functions have been absorbed into Skype, and Qik will cease to exist on 30 April 2014 — although videos embedded in websites are replaced with the message “video unavailable”.]

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

8 comments

  1. Christy Dena’s avatar

    I love what you’ve done Stil, and I’m planning my own adventure into live broadcasting as well now. I don’t have any thoughts I’d like to see as yet. So, will get back to you on that. I just wanted to post a comment so you stop sulking. 🙂

  2. firstdog’s avatar

    Pants — what is happening from the waste down? And hand puppets. You could do restaurant reviews live. Have guests on, people wandering past. Try and do it mobile.

  3. Miss Wired’s avatar

    Hand puppets! Yeah!

    And if people called in on Skype, you just pick up the hand puppet that most matches their personality (I’m thinking Jim Henson caricatures here) and mime to their voice.

  4. Stephen Stockwell’s avatar

    In measured doses, your ranting is fine. You have a natural affinity for it and there’s nothing wrong with a good rant about matters of substance and consequence, when it entertains as well.

    However… your regular default to snark mode lets you down a bit. I know you enjoy giving a good bitchslap to whoever you thought was the media/IT world’s biggest nonce for that week, but I’d like to see you engage in more nuanced ranting on topics where the delineation between the cleverdicks and the fuckwits is a little less obvious. Personally, I’m a big fan of commentary that examines paradox within and between different perspectives on a given subject. And you’re at your most interesting and informative when you compare and contrast 2 or 3 (or more) different sides of a story.

    And that goes for the music as well. Let’s have some clips where their artistic merit is something that can actually be debated instead of only ever scoffed at, adored with kitsch gay abandon, or both. I’m sure he’s a lovely fellow, but after 8 episodes, Snarky Platypus-as-DJ is showing himself to be something of a one-trick pony.

    But all-in-all, a great start.

  5. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    Some interesting comments so far, thank you. Though I’m a bit worried about the hand puppets. I’ll respond at more length tonight.

  6. Michael Meloni’s avatar

    While it wasn’t the most technically proficient, I think the ep (#2?) where you crossed to that chap in O/S was good viewing. I think a short interview each episode is a nice touch.

  7. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    OK, it took me a couple of days to get back to this… a hectic week. Even now I’m just stealing a few minutes while waiting for a client to finish their previous meeting. Here we go…

    @Christy Dena: Yes, do have a go. The technical side is easy — even easier if you forego fancy graphics and just put yourself on camera. Salient content and engaging with the audience always trump the production values. Always. Do let me know when you start.

    @firstdog and @Miss Wired: I’ll group you two together just so I can say, clearly and unequivocally, that I will not be exploring hand puppets in the near future.

    But, doing things live/mobile, yes, that’s something I want to explore further. I’d like to interview guests in their own environment, or discuss issues with a panel in an appropriate setting, or even just broadcast from interesting locations so they in turn help me reflect on whatever issues I’m talking about.

    Maybe we’re looking at two styles of program, one where it’s a more “produced” talk show in the studio, the other a location thing?

    @Stephen Stockwell: The only problem with “more nuanced ranting on topics where the delineation between the cleverdicks and the fuckwits is a little less obvious” is that it takes significantly more time to do — detailed scripting rather than mental bullet points. And right now this little exercise competes for my attention with such boring things as billable hours for clients. Yes, it’s a matter of finding the balance.

    As for the play-out music, well, don’t blame the Platypus for all of that since he only formally chose the last three episodes or so. The style is actually my decision as a “program format” thing: a bit of silliness to end with. I’m not interested in doing a music program as such, and there’s plenty of them around anyway. Anyway, useful feedback, ta.

    @Michael Meloni: That live interview only failed due to lack of computer processing power, and we’re fine for that now. I do like doing interviews and I was, even if I say so myself, a very good interviewer. Whatever I do, and however I do it, there will be more interviews.

    The big question is, what sort of topics should I do?

Comments are now closed.